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UN seeks $198 million for humanitarian needs in DPR Korea in 2012

Farmers harvest their crops in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
FAO/Belay Derza Gaga
Farmers harvest their crops in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

UN seeks $198 million for humanitarian needs in DPR Korea in 2012

Amid funding concerns for ongoing activities, the United Nations seeks $198 million to address critical humanitarian needs in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2012.

“Sixteen million people continue to suffer from chronic food insecurity, high malnutrition rates, and deep-rooted economic problems,” the UN Resident Coordinator in the DPRK, Jerome Sauvage, said in a news release. “Inadequate medical supplies and equipment make the health care system unable to meet basic needs, while the water and heating systems need to be rehabilitated.”

The Overview Funding Document (OFD), which outlines the funding needs for the UN’s humanitarian activities in DPRK, was presented to the international donor community in Beijing today, and in Pyongyang on 7 June. It also describes the current situation and the efforts being made to improve it in food and nutritional assistance, agricultural support and interventions in the water, sanitation, hygiene and health sectors.

According to the Resident Coordinators’ office, around two million people in the country’s most food insecure areas are currently receiving nutritious food assistance.

About 10,300 children will be treated for severe acute malnutrition and 57,000 for moderate acute malnutrition. The cereal deficit for the 2011/12 marketing year was estimated at 739,000 metric tons, leading to an uncovered cereal deficit of 414,000 metric tons.

The UN’s humanitarian focus in DPRK is on mitigating the protracted crisis through a sustained humanitarian response that addresses immediate and intermediate needs, while also addressing some of the root causes of the vulnerabilities in order to build resilience and sustainable livelihoods.

“External assistance is still needed and continues to play a vital role in safeguarding and promoting the well-being of millions whose food security, nutritional status and general health would otherwise be seriously compromised,” said Mr. Sauvage.

In 2011, the UN called for $218 million to address humanitarian needs in DPRK – it received some $85 million from donors, led by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Due to the lack of funds, humanitarian agencies have been unable to effectively address humanitarian needs.

“The UN in DPRK remains seriously underfunded. Provision of assistance must be based on the humanitarian principles: humanity, neutrality and impartiality, and not be contingent on political developments,” said Mr. Sauvage. “Separating humanitarian needs from political issues is a prerequisite for a sustainable improvement in the condition of people.”

Financed by voluntary contributions from Member States, non-governmental organizations, local governments, the private sector and individual donors, the CERF is a humanitarian fund established by the United Nations to enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to those affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts, helping agencies to pre-position funding for humanitarian action.